cover image Kill All Your Darlings

Kill All Your Darlings

David Bell. Berkley, $17 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-593-19867-4

At the start of this brisk suspense novel from Bell (The Request), Connor Nye, an English professor at Kentucky’s Commonwealth University, is visited by a former student, Madeline O’Brien, who disappeared two years earlier and was presumed dead. Madeline has a copy of Connor’s latest book, a crime thriller, which she claims is her work. Madeline demands that Connor pay her the earnings from the book, which soon draws police attention as many of its details seem drawn from the case of a local woman’s murder two and a half years earlier, a crime Connor doesn’t remember. Desperate to make tenure, he doesn’t admit his plagiarism and instead strives to prove he didn’t commit the murder. The discovery of Madeline’s stabbed body in the cemetery where Connor’s wife and son, who died in an accident five years earlier, are buried adds to his woes. The plot is fairly straightforward, though the limited number of suspects makes identifying the culprit easy as the action builds to a satisfying, if somewhat predictable, conclusion. Fans of Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Plot may want to check this one out. Agent: Laney Katz Becker, Massie & McQuilkin. (July)